Step aside, Travolta

Um. This is beyond weird, People, it’s like disco dressage—with ridiculous commentary. [shaking head] After Christopher Guest does a Hedgehog party, he should tackle this…

Extraordinary vid, Melissa M.



  1. now i’ve seen everything. amazing horse

  2. Is the music actually in the performance? I never did dressage when I rode, but what of it I saw was simply controlled motions, not dancing…

    That said, beautiful horse and beautiful work!

  3. snapdragon says:

    that’s really cool!

  4. Yes, this is a high level type of dressage tes called “kur” or musical freestyle. It is carefully choreographed in advance though. This is one of the best ever!

  5. book_monstercats says:

    Maggie, I suppose dancing is really controlled motions to music (well, not when I do it…..). Awesome, though, isn’t it?

  6. I guess it must be. The crowd claps…

    I’d like to point out that the rider seemingly does nothing. That is what has *always* amazed me about dressage.

  7. I Am In Total Awe…..That Was Absolutle AMAZING.

  8. fritzlesnick says:

    This dressage event is done in rhythm to the music chosen – there are certain steps that have to be done, but otherwise is freestyle.

    This horse’s performance is absolutely amazing. She should hve gotten 10’s across the board.



  11. sandypartridge says:

    I don’t know anything about dressage but I was half expecting the rider to start stripping when Lady Marmalade came on.

  12. Hey he dance better than ME

  13. That horse weighs upwards to a half a ton or more, and STILL manages to make it look easy. I’m having to pick myself up off the floor, here!


  14. WOW. Just Wow. Never have I seen a freestyle where *every* footfall was dead on the beat. Even that mare’s TAIL SWISHES were in rhythm!!! I *love* that he hugged her neck at the end. He knew she’d just given him the ride of a lifetime. Sigh. I miss riding.

  15. serenity815 says:


  16. Peg of Tilling says:

    Welcome to the Mare-lin Rouge!

  17. Omg, I love the Grace Jones “Slave to the Rhythm” at the beginning. That horse has great taste…

  18. Very cool.

    However I think I can hear the other horses making fun of him.

  19. That gave me shivers (and not just because the music was from my high school years). Amazing horse! Makes me wonder exactly HOW they are trained. Oh, Google….. what can you tell me about dressage? 🙂

  20. mzkamikaze says:

    uuummmm I can list at least 17 things that are wrong with this vid…but you already know what they are…LMAO!! Poor horse! She is a sweet horse but it’s not her fault that she’s got a tosser on her back and another two tossers commenting…TFFD!

  21. nightbird says:

    God knows ya just gotta luv a dancing horse!

  22. Alex Wells says:

    OMG! Dancing pony!

  23. BassBone says:

    Incredible movement… Stupid music.

  24. Wow! Absolutley amazing! I have never seen a Danish rider nor team win a dressagecompetition. Good for them!

  25. Welcome to the world of musical freestyle dressage – I rode when I was younger and it was so much fun to pick out your songs and plan your “dance”!

  26. AltoidsAddict says:

    Wow, just… wow. I agree with the commentators. The second she started in on those first flying lead changes, and dead-on straight at that, I knew this was going to be special. I can’t believe she’s only 9.

  27. Moonspark says:

    I was totally expecting the horse to do “Jazz Hands” at the end. Amazing!

  28. Have y’all ever seen dog dancing? It is a lot like this, and it is absolutely adorable. I could watch videos of dog-dancing forever.

  29. Wow. I did not know Snape moonlighted as a horse commentator. @__@

  30. R. Moore says:

    It’s twelve times funnier if you sync it up with “Love Potion #9” by Herb Alpert. Suddenly it’s a burlesque show.

    My sides. They ache.

  31. I love that the horse danced to lady marmelade. And frankly how the anouncer was speaking, I’m suprised there was no Michael Jackson nor moonwalk from the horse. If I were a judge, no moonwalk, no 10’s. 🙂

    All things aside, that was cool. I don’t really know what I was looking for but I’ve never seen a horse do that before. Very entertaining.

  32. Why is this weird? That’s frikkin’ AWESOME.

  33. R Moore — how bout Randy Newman’s “You Can Leave Your Hat On”? [snicker]

  34. Am I the only one who found herself clapping with the crowd at the end?

    That was fantastic! the only dressage I’d ever seen was my best friend learning it at the stable where she boarded her horse and learned to ride English. *Now* I understand what she was doing.

  35. Brak_Silverbone says:

    Too bad she’s dancing to a “Not By The Original Arists” remix! That music sounds like cheesy airport-lounge music.

  36. Amazing, amazing—but how weird is it to see a horse dancing to “Lady Marmalade,” a song that asks the musical question, “Voulez vous coucher avec moi c’est soir?” Or, “Do you want to sleep with me tonight?” Uh . . . no, thanks. Or perhaps the best response is “Neigh!”

  37. I am SO excited that this was put on CuteOverload, it is absolutely fabulous for our sport. Everybody, make your friends watch this–the kur has changed so much in recent years, and we really want people to enjoy this sport and consider riding dressage.

  38. Callan — presumably because you were busy watching something on a real network?

  39. Wow.

    So, uh, people spend their lives working on this, huh?

    I’ll never consider ANYthing I do a waste of time now.

    Beautiful horse, though.

  40. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  41. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  42. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  43. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  44. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  45. China's Mom says:

    OMG! This is was absolutely amazing!!!!!! I seriously have never seen anything like this before.
    I have watched plenty of Dressage competitions but never Freestyle Dressage. I was mesmerized by the horses feet! I have to go watch it again!

  46. NebraskaErin says:

    Speech. Less.

  47. “So, uh, people spend their lives working on this, huh?

    I’ll never consider ANYthing I do a waste of time now.” – Amy

    I couldn’t say it better.

  48. OMG It’s the pwny step!

  49. Nothing in the world more beautiful that that. Thank you for posting it!

  50. Wow. That mare was oh so light on her feet and looked to be having fun out there, good for her! What a blast though, I love seeing a sport, especially one like dressage done that well.

  51. Oh man.. My dressage tests were never anything like that!

  52. Absolutely amazing. What a beautiful horse, and she looked like she was enjoying it! I hope she was. I had to clap at the end, so you weren’t the only one, Teri!

  53. That was great! That horse is obviously very smart, and her trainers worked tirelessly with her. It must’ve taken a very long time to teach her to do that!

    Pardon me folks, but I truly don’t understand anyone who can view something like this and CRITICIZE it! You don’t like the music, it’s a waste of time, yadda yadda yadda. When was the last time YOU put this much time and dedication into ANYTHING? PLEASE people, this was joy personified! (Horse-on-ified?) 😉 Enjoy it for its beauty and pure pleasure, delight, bliss! Are you that much of a curmudgeon that you get a kick out of criticizing something so beautiful? Choose JOY! OPTIMISM! Take a happy pill! Geesh! *steps down offa soapbox*

    THANK YOU Melissa M for sharing this! 🙂

  54. Wow…I’m wondering how much training that takes, and how do you get a horse to learn that double skip? Now that was cute!

  55. AltoidsAddict says:

    Waste of time?

    Sure, just like all Olympic sports! Not that the ancient Greeks believed it a “waste of time” – those movements have their origins in making cavalrymen and horses into more effective units, and I know mounted posse members who use dressage movements and training to increase crowd-control and improve teamwork. If you can stop snickering at what you don’t understand long enough to actually look at what she’s doing, imagine yourself as a foot soldier having to deal with a horse who can pivot, knock you down, then stomp your face into pulp in a very short amount of time. Dressage is brutal movements, designed to kill, done very prettily.

    Guess I shoulda spent my teenage years glued to the TV instead of working 8 hours a day on this waste of time. Who needs to *accomplish* something, anyway?

  56. Well said, mc2.


  58. I actually have tears in my eyes from this. What a beautiful performance.

  59. crazy sheep says:

    I *love* dressage – watching it not doing it. Although I prefer classical music to the stuff in this video.

    That horse is awesome! And I also love how the rider hugs her at the end.

    Google “Lipizzaner” (one p, two z’s) – and see them live if you possibly can – for a real dressage treat.

  60. Hee! Prancy dancy horses and catchy music…is there any finer pleasure in this world?

    I love dressage!

  61. Tears… yes. Me too, and I don’t even have PMS right now.

  62. The horse…is flicking his tail…to the beat.

    The prancing about to the beat I can see as training…but the tail thing? That horse has got rhythm!


  63. GOL DANG!11! Dressage wasn’t like this when I was a girl! Ab-so-lut-ly beautiful. And teh mare was having so much fun, swish that tail girl; knew she was doin’ good; The rider looks like he’s slepping thru it…just liek he’s sposed to. WOW, OH WOW. brought tears to my eyes!

  64. A waste of time… Working hard at a physically and mentally demanding sport that requires absolute commitment… yup, sounds like a real waste of time to me. Perhaps I’ll go play some video games or watch some reality TV instead… Seriously, to develop a partnership with a horse to perform at this level is an art, and requires years of work for both horse and rider (and a lot of talent).

    The “double skips” are called “two-tempis” and are actually the horse changing their canter lead every other stride. She also does one-tempi’s in this video. It is the horse skipping, and I think it’s fantastically cool to watch, too. Tempi changes are definitely an advanced movement… One I can only hope to master after many more years of wasting my time having fun training and riding my horse.

  65. It really makes me mad when people who have no idea the work it takes to create something this magnificent make snarky remarks about it. Let’s see you get out there and do it. This was beyond awesome. Thank you for showing it!

  66. That was really cool. I haven’t seen much dressage before, but damn that horse can bust a move!

  67. I feel profound pity for anyone who has so lost the capacity to appreciate beauty, artistic and althletic achievement.

    I’ve seen this video before, it’s a favorite of mine. I’m surprised but happy to see it turn up here.

  68. And you know what? They didn’t win it! They got second!!

  69. Watching dressage can be tedious at lower or even mid-level — the same moves over and over with horse after horse — but at the highest level like this, it is awesome. The best horses like this one shoot dressage into a whole new zone. “We are the union of power and grace… we are the Rhythm of Air.” (Susan Graham White song)

  70. That was definitely awesome. I didn’t know they even HAD stuff like this out there! For the first minute I was thinking, wow, this is soooo strange but after that I was thinking, wow, what talent! Anyone who can train a HUGE animal like that is awesome in my book. PLUS the tails swishies!!!!! My NEIGHbors must think I am insane because I laughed out loud with child-like delight while watching this!

    Bravo! (Brava for the mare!)

  71. awesome hourse. pure joy to watch her skip across the ring to the music. I don’t know much about dressage but my neighbor showed me a little. The rider is working very hard thru this just like the horse. The horse is probably being cued by leg commands. Hats off to both the rider and the horse. If this won second I wonder what took first.

  72. girlnextdoortn says:

    This is officially the strangest and most incredible video I’ve ever seen. I’ve watched it twice so far- I just can’t believe it!

    The one moment where the announcer goes “oh!” like he couldn’t help himself, he was so freaking amazed- that was great. (It’s during a time when the announcers are silent.)

  73. Clearly, white horses can dance. (Do they have ice dressage? I can see it now, the camel..I mean horse lutz, the triple sal-horse…)

  74. This big stud and his little lady were the winners. I like the mare maybe because of the upbeat music, but they are both soooo awesome.

  75. ummm. I almost cried. That was amazing. Art in motion. Guess I’ll toss out my ballet tickets! =)

  76. Thanks Aunty-G. I see why the Stud and Lady won but I still thought the white horse was having way more fun than the black one.

  77. Ha! Idiotic nuffery.

    I admit I was a little *headtilt* as I watched this simply because I’ve never watched dressage, and certainly not dressage like this, but I’m not about to say it looks like a waste of time at all. What an intense workout that must be, and to train an animal– albeit a smart one– to do that is absolutely amazing.

  78. andrea l nash says:

    How lovely… I’ve got goosebumps (for the young, that’s kinda like highbeams only smaller);). I hate emoticons … they’re like a pretend picture of a pretend face … why can’t others just hear what you say and respond to it?

  79. AuntieMame says:

    LOL! It’s like Dancing with the Stars, only one of them has four legs! She looks like she’s skipping for joy. And I’m totally adding riding clothes to my list of outfits that look really hot, along with emergency services uniforms, military uniforms, and UPS uniforms. 😀

    Anyway, I don’t see it as any more pointless than, say, agility training for dogs. It gives them something to learn and do. I’m sure it’s more enriching for the animals than pootling around the pasture all day.

    (And it totally sounded like Snape! LOL!)

  80. Jenocyde says:

    I had no idea that anything like this even existed. But it certainly takes the cake against people who say that animals, specifically horses, aren’t ‘intelligent creatures.’ I mean, there are PEOPLE who can’t be taught how to dance. People whose feet can be picked up and placed into the exact right place where you want them, and they still can’t even waltz. But we can teach horses this kind of stuff! Now THAT’S amazing.

  81. I ride Dressage, and this is hands down one of the most talented and amazing horses I’ve seen. A true athlete and an amazing rider! And for those of you who don’t know…what that horse and rider did in that video is incredibly hard and takes years of training and obviously a great horse!

  82. To the people making disparaging comments, I’m sure it’s just because you have no idea of the level of training, work, and artistry that goes into this level of dressage. This is an amazing amount of communication between horse and rider, and incredible athleticity and skill on the part of both. I’m not a dressage person, but I’m a horse person, and I know enough to be absolutely astounded at what this horse is doing. This is top-level riding, on par with if not above the skills of, for example, ice dancers. And as somebody’s pointed out, it has a long and noble history, it’s not just “pretty moves”.

  83. thebewilderness says:

    I don’t get RFD teevee any more, so I don’t know what happened to it, but they used to show dressage competitions on Sundays and after a few weeks everyone in the family was hooked.
    They used to show the dressage competition at the Olympics too, but not anymore. Sad.

  84. OMG * OMG * OMG * OMG

    I have no words, except thanks for the explanations of the one- and two-tempis. How do they change their lea? I could only ever do it with a horse just going into movement, and the one, if that makes sense. And a 9 year old horse. Wow.

  85. I’ll be the first to admit I never thought much dressage. I’m NOT saying I didn’t like it or appreciate it – just not my cup o tea. (I thought the people looked funny. But not the horses.) But this amazing.
    And the horse looks like she is really enjoying the performing. That makes me smile.

    And I never knew ANYTHING about its history. Now I have something smart to say when I hear people making fun of dressage. YAY for me.

  86. I N C R E D I B L E ! ! ! ! !

    And here I thought dressage tests were snoozy… They’ve come a long way, baby.

    Now I think I have to go and sign up for Dish Network, so that I can see this on mine own teevee.

  87. aunty G, you are soooo right about this:

    “This big stud and his little lady were the winners. I like the mare maybe because of the upbeat music, but they are both soooo awesome.

    Just amazing!!!

  88. LOL! The soundtrack reminded me of “The Full Monty” for some reason. I half expected to see a red G-string whirl through the air.

    Watching the horse was a treat! She almost seemed to float, she was steppin’ so light!

  89. That horse kicks ass! ( No offense to any donkeys in the audience.)

  90. WOW!
    I don’t know much about the world of equestrian sports, but this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen a horse do.
    Tell me I wasn’t the only one dancing along with her?
    But on a geekier note – As a freelance animator, I almost fell out of my chair when I saw the horse step (or is it trot? Don’t know the terminology, here) the “wrong way”. Quadrapedal walk cycles always run with the hind legs doing the opposite of what the front legs are doing. Kind of like how human arms swing opposite of our legs when we’re jogging (left leg forward, right arm forward, like that). I didn’t think it was possible for a four-legged critter to walk/trot/run with the front and hind legs doing the same thing on one side! 0_o It is unnatural, but amazing that the horse not only CAN pull that off (the weight-shifting and all that, given her actual weight… mind-boggling) but is WILLING to do something that complicated.
    Proves to me that the mare enjoys it, and has an excellent sense of rhythm! ^_^ This video is great!

    Just for fun, try walking and swinging your arms like that; step forward with your right leg and with your right arm forward, too. It’s really hard and feels robotic. I get maybe 5 feet and I have to switch back because my veritgo kicks in, it’s so confounding to the balance. Now try jogging like that – The mare was trotting along while she was doing it. Is there a name for that strange motion she was doing? I’m just curious.

  91. the_becca says:

    crazed — yeah, I noticed that too. Wow, this horse is way more coordinated and skillful than *I* am, as well as most other people I know. Um, rest of mammilian kingdom? You just got served.

    Also — This is definitely a super-happy horse. All the horse body language is saying so loud and clear — and not only is this horse happy, but from what I can see, I don’t think she’s even really trying to please. I think they practiced this routine so much that she just remembers all of it as just a fun thing to do. She’s so relaxed that her ears are even flopping around at about the 5:15 mark. Wow.

  92. the_becca says:

    P.S. This horse is so sproingy and atheletic it’s almost unbelievable. I mean, iirc it’s almost unheard of to have a horse pretty much hop straight up into the air the way this one does a few times, and so effortlessly. Wow.

  93. the_becca says:

    P.P.S. For those of you wondering what crazed was talking about that made them almost fall out of their chair, (I think) it’s the trot the horse is doing towards the beginning where the commentator goes “Jeez, look at how straight they are!”

  94. acelightning says:

    Oh, my…
    That is the most *INCREDIBLE* performance I’ve ever seen! That horse is a ballerina with four legs! She and her equally talented rider deserve a row of 11’s for that – “perfect 10” doesn’t do it justice.

    I was also reminded of figure skating, and the kind of very stylized moves a skater weaves together, with music, into an Olympic-class performance. What an utter joy to watch!

  95. crazed-
    in the trot, the opposite legs move together, and in the walk and canter, the sides KIND of move together, but not quite (the walk has four beats, the canter has three). There’s a special gait called the pace in which both right legs and both left legs move in perfect unison. Not many horses do it, you see it in only certain breeds like the standardbred and the icelandic.
    here’s a video of some icelandic horses- at around 1:17, they give you a really good look at a pacing icelandic.

  96. I actually had to stop watching this at work because I was crying with laughter, it’s just hilarious! Who would have thought a horse could do this!??! It rocks. 😀


  98. That was amazing stuff I admit I don’t watch this very often, but I expect the commentators know what they are talking about, and when they say they are speechless. Then its really good. I forgot that their really is a rider on the horse, how long do you train and horse to do that ?
    I think that the horse really enjoyed doing that, too.

  99. I wonder if any of the horses did routines to music by Hall and Oates…

  100. i would give anything to see that horse take a BIG dump during the performance.

  101. I hate to be a spoilsport, but the horse isn’t swishing that tail of his because he’s having fun or anything like that. Swishing his tail, particularly as “noisily” as that, is a sign that the horse does not like the way the rider uses their leg on his flanks. It’s a protest.

    (The tail swishes are rhytmical because the rider uses their leg rhytmically, too.)

    This is a pretty and talented horse all right, and I’ve seen many of his performances, but there’s something just wrong there. A correctly trained and ridden horse would have a relaxed tail just flowing freely behind him. The tail-swishing is not cute at all, and it always makes me flinch.

  102. Bee-yu-t-ful! And the best part is, that the horse seemed to enjoy it! <3

  103. Awwwwwwww, so damned CUTE! The mare is gorgeous and she looks so happy while dancing! Even her tail swishes in rhythm! I’m not too familiar with dressage but I do know it’s very demanding, and I’m absolutely impressed. Its so nice to see that connection between horse and rider!

    *snorgles horsie*

  104. This reminds me of a former coworker of mine who did dressage. She always said that dressage was like pairs figure skating only one of the partners was 1200 pounds. I’ll have to email her and ask her, “how do you teach a horse to skip?”

  105. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. (astonished, delighted.)

  106. I had to watch it twice. I still can’t believe it.

    I shouted with glee just as much the second time around as I did on the first.

  107. I have to agree with the commentators, it was a privilege to see this. I don’t know thing one about dressage, but I think discipline is always welcome. These two have obviously worked very hard. And I love how he hugged his horse at the end.

  108. Re: tail swishing — you are correct that it *can* mean that the horse is annoyed. However, if the horse were truly annoyed here, A) her ears would be pinned, and B) they simply wouldn’t have such a fluid performance. You can’t just look at the tail swishing — look at her facial expression and her ears, and how floppy and relaxed they are. This horse is just extremely bend-y — part of what a rider asks for when cueing with their leg on one side is for their horse to bend away from their leg, and this horse does it all the way through her body — tail included. Thus it looks swishy.

  109. montana gramma says:

    Thank-You A.Altoids!I’ve been around horses and worked with them all my life.We humans,owe a great debt to these wonderful creatures.Horses have been instramental in forming the major civilizations of the world .They carried us,our goods,hauled loads of every kind from timber to stone.They went to war with us and have frequetly been found standing over their dead riders,guarding them.In mythology,the horse is the only animal that has never been used by the devil,as its heart is pure.Horses are usually broke to ride at age 4,so this beautiful mare has really leaned her stuff.It takes ballerina’s,opera singers,golfers,track stars,gymnists,decades to train for competitions.Not to mention that this mare also had to learn a forgien lauguage,called Danish and maybe English too.Horses have proven themselves to be brave,and loyal,ready to work and serve mankind.I am proud to state that some of my best friends have been equine.Montana Gramma

  110. I used to compete and teach Dressage and I can tell all of you that this performace brought tears to my eyes. Incredible.

    The commentators didn’t soud ridiculous to me in the least; perhaps it would to people who don’t know anything about the sport. Often, I would be thinking that a particular movement was exceptionally well-performed and then the commentator would voice my thoughts aloud.

    As for the tail-swishing, I disagree that it is *always* a sign of irritation. Some horses, particularly mares, will swish their tails if anything at all touches their sides, and I would be much more worried about it if the horse showed any other signs of tension. This mare’s ears were flopping, she was so relaxed, so I think it was just the way she was.

    To answer the question to the animator above, perhaps you were thinking of the half-passes in trot, when the horse moves forward and sideways at the same time? They are still in a diagonal gait, but they cross their legs.

    Lastly, when the commenators mentioned how “straight” the horse is, it is actually a rare thing. Your average horse and rider are slightly crooked from front to back all the time, and in dressage that is a fault because not being straight develops the horse’s body unevenly.

  111. Did you notice how much FUN that horse seemed to be having? Man, that tail was a FLAILIN’! I’ve watched dressage on and off for years, and know a little about kur, but DANG, that was really something!

  112. Adrienne says:

    is it really sad that i actually cried at the end of this because i was so proud of this horse???

    i have problems and need to go back to bed i think

  113. That was just SO COOL and I know absolutely NOTHING about dressage at all! And I myself had tears in my eyes at the end! (I’m such a SAP!)
    I love it that you don’t notice the rider at all even though you know he’s working his tail off as well.

  114. This was like watching ballet for me– painful yet awe-inspiring.

    I don’t know if horses are supposed to move like that, but if we humans can dance around on our tippy toes for hours, why not?!

    Awesome video. If the Olympics come to Chicago I *gotta* go see some equestrian events!

  115. Wow, thanks, peeps! ^_^
    The Icelandic horses are amazing, Emily! I didn’t know there were quadrapeds that actually moved like that naturally! *makes a note* In case I ever have to animate horses, I now know to check in case I have to make their walk cycle go the wrong way. ^_^ I have learned new stuffs.
    The diagonal walk/cross-stepping thing was really impressive, too. I can’t do that with roller skates. I also noticed how straight the horse was in that one section. A lot of quadrapeds do what we term “dogtailing”, where if you look at an animal as it runs, you’ll notice that the back end kind of drifts to one side, although they’re still running straight; it’s just really pronounced in dogs. I knew horses did that a bit, so I was also really impressed when I couldn’t see those back legs at all!
    Amazing horse, and thanks again to you guys, because I have learned new things. ^_^

    (fun hint – If you watch Ice Age, in the opening part where there’s the huge line of migrating critters, you’ll see the wrong walk cycle I’m talking about all over the place. We knew a guy who interned on that movie, and since animation interns usually work on incidental characters, we like to poke him that he did that sequence. The really funny bit is that he was run so ragged and did so much work on that movie he honestly can’t recall if he did it or not!)

  116. Catsquatch says:


    What an EXCELLENT performance! She was AMAZING!

  117. :)))))

    I, too, ride dressage (it’s an obsession and a sickness, I tell ya…). Matiné is indeed freaking AMAZING – one of the most amazing dressage horses in the world right now.

    Regarding comments that the rider looks like he’s doing nothing – it’s supposed to be that way. 🙂 The aids are meant to be invisible or near-invisible. Too much aid can be noisy and upset the balance of the horse.

    I heard an analogy elsewhere about how hard riding dressage is. The rider looks like a swan gliding across the water, but underneath the surface of the water (where you can’t see), the legs are paddling away furiously. Perfect analogy, I thought. Also, riding dressage requires an enormously strong core – riding a BIG moving horse such as Matiné feels like doing an ab crunch every SINGLE stride. The tests in competition run for 6 to 7 minutes, and at home training/schooling usually runs for 45 to 60 minutes. Imagine the strength that takes.

  118. This was amazing! I can’t help but also feel slight pride because the rider and horse are danish *is dane herself*

  119. My two cents about dressage (or any riding, really) – not only is it comparable to any human pairs sport or dancing, but your partner isn’t even the same species as you. So you can’t just say “Look, when I put my foot here, you put your foot there, ok?” And you can’t force a horse to perform like this – it’s all about interspecies communication. So. Frickin. Cool. !!!!!

  120. zosterops says:

    am glad I am not the only one being moved to tears — seeing how proud and happy horse and rider were at the end.

    will go and blow my nose now.

  121. I’m surprised that the headline for this amazing video was called “weird” – this was downright spectacular dressage. Just because it was set to music, it was called weird? I’m not sure people understand how *incredibly* difficult it is to get a horse to move like this. Just getting a horse to move backwards is a feat, but training one to do this is just…amazing. That is one HECKUVA horse (and trainer/rider)!

  122. that was a LOT of piaffe and passage! Takes incredible muscle control! and at only 9!

  123. Stunning display of teamwork….this horse is a gifted and disciplined athlete….may be weird to some, to me it is a work of art..and a testament to the grace and versatility of a horse. I am still smiling…

  124. That music is a bad muzak version of “Slave to the Rhythm” who I believe Grace Jones made popular back inna dey…

  125. I, too, was moved to tears. And smiles and cheers! Fantastic!!!!

  126. luvinmalssomuch says:

    Truly amazing. Wonderful!! Bravo.

  127. adrianne says:

    WOW!!!! I don’t think I blinked!! That was freakin’ amazing!!

  128. Now that it’s so well practiced I wonder if that horse would do those moves on its own with no rider. Maybe the same music or rhythm would trigger it to “dance”. How neat would that be?!

    I’m an old guy, a fuddy duddy, yet all I can think of is “OMG Dancing Pwneez!!”

  129. Like those above me said. That was absolutely amazing. I’ve never seen anything like that before. The horse and trainers all must be very gifted.

  130. Dressage is the french word when tranlsated means training. Alexander the Great and one of his generals designed these movements for horse in battle. Today, it is a beautiful artisitc display. Ballet on horseback is what my German trainers states. It takes years to develop the relationship between horse and rider to obtain this type of performance. I started riding dressage about a year ago after riding hunter/jumpers.Dressage is the most difficult of all riding dsicplines and I am humbled daily by my lovely horse. There is so much communication between horse and rider. A true partnership develops that is amazing to witness. Every slight movement in the saddle will translate through to the horse. This horse and the one that got the gold at the event are the best of the best. I am in awe everytime I witness this kind of performance. It is one of the most moving things to witness in person.

  131. Tina Rhea says:

    Adrienne, it’s not at all weird or sad that this video made you cry. Spectacular performances can do that. Arnold Palmer told a racing journalist (Heywood Hale Broun, I think) that he watched Secretariat in the Belmont– didn’t care about racing, didn’t have any money on it, just turned it on because people were talking about this horse. “So why did I end up on my knees in front of the TV, pounding the floor and crying?” “Because all your life you’ve been looking for perfection, and you were seeing it.”

  132. Tina Rhea says:

    Corona, these horses may do similar moves on their own in a field– stallions especially do it to show off to mares. The trick in training is to get them to do it in order, at that spot, on command, and transition smoothly from one move to the next. My favorite is the extended trot– a half-ton animal that looks like it’s floating– and I’ve seen them do that on their own.

  133. yeah how “marvellous”!! (cynical) those poor horses get beaten badly during training, so they jump around stupidly as their jockey wishes.. not cute and not natural. poor horse! DIGNITY FOR HORSES!

  134. Oh goody. Now we have a DRESSAGE Nuff.
    Takes all kinds to make a series of tubes.

  135. Heidi, do you know jack about what you’re talking about? Doesn’t sound like it to me.

  136. Melissa Smith says:

    Okay, just so people know:
    this guy came in second.. SECOND!
    Amazing, eh?
    This girl came in first… it’s also amazing but less cute music:)

  137. Yeesh, some people think EVERYTHING equals animal abuse.

    Hey heidi. Reality checks are being given out at the door. Try it, you might like it.

  138. Tina Rhea, thanks for the amazing quote…

    Also, the gold medal winners were amazing, but I enjoyed Matine’s performance more… she really looked as if she was dancing, and loving it!

    Also, Heidi, I think that you would be hard pressed to find a dressage rider at that level who trained their horse with cruelty. It wouldn’t result in such a relazed, happy-looking horse, and if anyone ever saw them in training it would probably be the end of the rider’s career.

    Lovely horse dance! Yay!

  139. gigglingpear says:

    uhhh, that was kinda weird!! I wonder if the horse really was having as much fun as everyone else? 😛

  140. “This girl came in first… it’s also amazing but less cute music:)”

    Melissa, I think these two are amazing – and that I can see why they won, though it was awfully close.

  141. I heart Matine! She has so much joy that is missing in many dressage competitors. I’ve been a dressage rider for many years and this is the best team I’ve ever seen in the competition arena. Of course, the Spanish Riding School is the best of the best, but in competition, Matine is tops and is only going to get better.

  142. Kathy Mac says:

    WOW. I am ACHING to be back in a saddle right now, i’ve never mmissed it so much as after seeing that video!!! i WISH i could achieve that level of a bond and communication with a horse. utterly amazing. what an incredible animal, she is something really special.

    Heidi, get a grip. How many horses have you seen being “badly beaten” while in training for top level dressage competitions? more to the point, how many horses have you ever even seen? you know nothing about this, if you want to voice your opinion, don’t let it be an ignorant one. go educate yourself on a subject before you shoot your mouth off. anyone who knows anything about horses knows this animal doesn’t know what cruelty is.

  143. Mindflight says:

    Hi, just wanted to put in my two cents. One of my best friends does dressage, and having watched her train, I know a little about it. This horse is just spectacular. The muscular coordination and the level of cooperation required is amazing, and you can see how relaxed and willing she is. I ride Paso Finos, who have a special lateral gait (the paso) and she almost moves that way. But the half-passe! The crossovers! This is not weird. This is art at its highest level.

  144. Mindflight says:

    And, Heidi — as far as I know, the word “jockey” generally only refers to a rider in a mounted (not harness racing) horse race. So while it’s commendable that you care about the treatment of this horse, you may want to educate yourself further, because there are horses being terribly abused and this beauty is clearly not one of them.

  145. Everybody who is commenting on here and is now interested in dressage–visit, the United States Dressage Federation’s website. In the “About Us” section you can find links to your local clubs and member organizations, and go take some dressage lessons or go check out some shows! Dressage needs help in this country becoming popular –people are often bored by the quietness of the tests and the repetition of the training, especially at the lower levels, and they don’t give exciting things like Grand Prix and the kur a chance. Dressage is an amazing foundation for any type of rider as a confidence, coordination, and relationship building exercise for you and your horse, and it is great for any breed or type of horse (not just the expensive ones). It is often considered a “snooty” sport, because of its European origins and the big money involved in the upper levels, but any trainer worth his/her salt will give any rider a basic education in dressage, and thus improve his/her riding exponentially.
    I’m pleased and overwhelmed by the positive response to this video! Now all of you with some extra time (you know you have a little), go learn some more about the wonderful equine art of dressage!!

  146. Oh, and one more comment to anyone who might think that this work (dressage) is not “natural” or possibly trained through cruelty–I say to you that ANY equine sport CAN be forced through cruelty, but it will never be beautiful, nor a partnership between horse and rider like what you see here. And surely there are some trainers who think they do dressage that may train through cruelty–but they are NOT the winners. There is nothing to true dressage but art and kindness, and it is based solely on natural movements. The trot in place, or “piaffe,” is performed regularly by stallions who are working hard to impress a mare. The flying lead changes, or “skipping,” are always used by horses when cantering from one direction to another. Dressage simply intensifies the practice and duration of these exercises, and teaches the horse “self carriage,” which is the basis of the dancing-effect you see in these high levels. Dressage simply takes these natural movements to a higher level. Nothing in dressage should ever be forced in training or final appearances.
    There will always be jackasses who do not abide by the classical rules and beat and frighten their horses into doing these movements, but they will never be recognized by anyone but fellow horse-beaters as true dressage riders/trainers.

  147. cowsharky says:

    Watching this, I wanted to laugh, go “aww” and cry all at the same time. I know nothing about dressage, but that was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Now I wanna see this horse perform live, cuz she’s an artist. Her human’s pretty nifty as well.

  148. I am still amazed at the performance those two did, I again admit I do not watch dressage, but after watching this 10 to 15 times today alone I think I will after today. thanks to cuteoverload for giving me back my smile today.

  149. In all honesty, the horse is great but the rider has at least 10 faults… PUT YOUR HEELS DOWN! That said, cool video. I do that kind of riding with my pony. He still needs some work on the half-pass but he’s great at the extended canter 🙂
    Does anyone have any training tips for me to help with the half-pass, shoulder-in, and leg yield? The pony’s ridden in a snaffle loose ring sweet iron bit, snaffle bridle with no flash.



  151. My trainer showed me this video last week and I’m so pleased to see it pop up on CO! Dressage is a beautiful art form, and if this is how more people are going to be exposed to it, all the better! I would give anything to be able to ride my horse like that to that level of perfection. 🙂

  152. WOW! That is th best Musical Freestyle I have ever seen, thanks for posting! Every rider in the world dreams of such a horse and such a performance.

    It saddens me to see some comments by people who do not understand that you CANNOT force a horse to move in this manner, so freely and joyfully. This type of performance is a true partnership, and the rider will be the first to say it. This is the opposite of cruelty!

  153. My goodness.

    I was never one of those girls that grow up horse-mad – books like Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic are totally lost on me, for example. But damn! This is enough to convert anyone.

    Personally, the weird bit isn’t that it’s a dancing horse. It’s that you have a rider dressed impeccably in black and white, back straight as an arrow, riding a beautiful pearly-grey horse… and the horse is dancing to Moulin Rouge.


  154. The reason it’s a “muzak” version of the songs is that the rules of dressage state that you can’t have any lyrics to the songs, I guess so that the horses don’t just automatically respond to hearing a certain word. As for the tail-swishing, Matiné has Trakehner and Arab blood in her line, both breeds which use their tails more actively than others; the swishing could just be in her blood. 🙂 Also, remember that this horse is only 9 years old, i.e. young and enthusiastic. Kind of like a teenager in competition at a senior level for the first time. I’d be excited too.

  155. Meh, wake me up when it does a back flip.

  156. schrafinator says:

    “yeah how “marvellous”!! (cynical) those poor horses get beaten badly during training, so they jump around stupidly as their jockey wishes.. not cute and not natural. poor horse! DIGNITY FOR HORSES!”

    No, they don’t.

    You can’t “beat” a horse into a performace like that, and for you to suggest that it must be the case simply shows your ignorance of horses.

    I am not saying that there aren’t abused show horses, because there certainly are, but not at that level, and almost certainly not that particular horse.

    But perhaps I am wrong, and you know more than I do. What is your evidence?

  157. schrafinator says:

    “In all honesty, the horse is great but the rider has at least 10 faults… PUT YOUR HEELS DOWN!”

    Dusty, did it ever occur to you that the rider has their heel up because that’s where it needs to be to apply the aids?

    The reason we teach “heels down” all the time is because the tendency of the novice rider is to grip up with the knees and take their calf off of the horse. I saw nothing but long, long correct leg position on that rider. Their heel simply must come up if they need to, for example, put their calf quite behind the girth to ask for more hindquarter displacement in the half pass.

    I mean, come on. This is one of the best dressage riders in the world, and produced an incredible performance. Perhaps you might rethink your criticism in light of that.

  158. OMG peeps…I was the one that sent this video to CO…and it SADENS me to think ANYONE would criticize such beauty. I am so happy that the majority of you have happiness in your heart and felt it when you viewed this INCREDIBLE clip…

  159. That’s Matiné?! Man oh man, has that horse gotten better! And she’s what, ten now? Absolutely stunning, I mean that piaffe was perfect! I’m rarely on the verge of squeeing, but this video actually made me squee.

  160. That horse loves music. Every now and then a special animal is born and that mare is just WONDERFUL!
    And Denmark was in aaaah when the team won. Even people not interested in dressage.

    Thumbs up CO for putting this on!

    Hugs from Denmark – Kestrel

  161. hey sistah! go sistah…

  162. this was amazing – but my favorite part was at the end when he hugged his horse.

  163. Wow! You’ve got to spend a LOT of time with your horse to be able to do this. The best part is that the horse is obviously enjoying himself. Great video!

  164. I know, Schrafinator. I’m just saying that the heel should stay down as the leg goes back, instead of the knee staying where it is and creating a 110-degree angle, instead of a 150-degree angle as it should be. If the lower leg goes too far backward and the upper leg stays where it is, the rider can lose their balance. Instead of only the lower leg coming back, a better solution would be for the whole leg to discreetly move backward an inch or so to give the signal with the heel still down. Horses are more sensitive on the side of their belly than the side of their ribcage.
    Do you know that?
    Have you ever ridden dressage?
    Do you have an upper level pony you ride each day in a plain snaffle bit, who responds easily to the slightest movement of the leg or rein?
    He’s only 8 years old, and still in training. I’m going to enter him in some dressage shows this spring.
    I’ve been delighted with his progress lately. Update from last post: Fully trained at the leg yield/half-pass. The wonders an hour of riding/lunging can do..

  165. God. Help me. I’ve watched it like 30 times now and I’m still crying. I’m going to need therapy for this.

  166. Dusty, given the wording of Schrafinator’s post, I’m going to guess they DO know and ride dressage. Actually, the wording sounds to me like they TEACH it.

    Just a guess.

  167. Is is just me or did the second commentator sound almost exactly like Alan Rickman?

  168. Samuel Tai says:

    Bad news: Blue Hors Matine and Andreas Helgstrand will not be able to repeat this year. The mare was injured while descending from her trailer.

  169. sock monster says:


  170. This video has introduced me to a whole world of equestrian amazement. I was vaguely aware of dressage, but I had no idea of what could be achieved at the highest levels. It’s … poetry!

    So sad about Matiné having to be pulled out of the worlds this spring. 😦 What a beautiful animal she is in that still photo of Andreas trotting her.

    A fan is born. Thanks, CO! (and Missy for sending it in)

  171. schrafinator says:

    “I know, Schrafinator. I’m just saying that the heel should stay down as the leg goes back, instead of the knee staying where it is and creating a 110-degree angle, instead of a 150-degree angle as it should be.”

    Except if you don’t want to move your thigh.

    “If the lower leg goes too far backward and the upper leg stays where it is, the rider can lose their balance.”

    Nonsense. That’s only true if they don’t have a truly independent seat.

    I used to have my students walk, trot, and canter (on the lunge) with their knees completely bent so that they were holding their ankle in their hand and their heels were almost touching their own butts. This would teach them independence of seat, no matter what their legs or arms were doing.

    “Instead of only the lower leg coming back, a better solution would be for the whole leg to discreetly move backward an inch or so to give the signal with the heel still down.”

    I don’t know if you noticed, but this mare’s rider has extremely long legs. In order for his heel to make contact with the area at and behind the girth, he had to bend his knee.

    If you move the thigh, you are risking the loss of straightness.

    In addition, how do you know that this mare didn’t perform better when her rider kept his seat and thighs more quiet and instead just moved her around mostly with his calf and heel?

    “Horses are more sensitive on the side of their belly than the side of their ribcage.

    Do you know that?”

    Meh, I think that is debatable. A horse can instantly feel a fly anywhere on it’s skin, so I really think you are splitting hairs.

    Again, look at the *performance*. Equitation is as equitation *does*.

    “Have you ever ridden dressage?”

    Yes, for years and years. Also competed in Hunters, Jumpers, and Combined Training. I also have a Bachelors of Science in Equestrian Studies and was a professional riding instructor, horse trainer, and farm manager.

    “Do you have an upper level pony you ride each day in a plain snaffle bit, who responds easily to the slightest movement of the leg or rein?”

    Not at present, but I used to teach children and adults how to ride upper level ponies and horses in plain snaffle bits to respond easily to the slightest movement of leg and rein.

    (You forgot “seat” and “voice” in your list of natural aids)

    “He’s only 8 years old, and still in training. I’m going to enter him in some dressage shows this spring.”

    That’s lovely. I wish you the best of luck.

    “I’ve been delighted with his progress lately. Update from last post: Fully trained at the leg yield/half-pass. The wonders an hour of riding/lunging can do..”

    The aids for leg-yield and half pass are completely different. Are you sure you know the difference?

  172. Am I the only one who gets a very distinct ‘Flashdance’ flashback when watching this?

    I picture the horse with a cutoff sweatshirt…sweatbands….

  173. This mare weight 10 times as much as her rider – there is no way she would be performing like this if she didn’t enjoy it – she is clearly loving it. What textbook straighness in the flying changes, what a beautifully elevated passage, the power and flow of the extended trot… OMG PONIES!!!!1!

  174. “It’s wonderful to know there are so many dressage fans/riders at CO!” She says, after watching this video for the nth time…

  175. kel13123 says:

    that was absolutely beautiful. it brought tears to my eyes. the flying changes were gorgeous, and…and…no it was all gorgeous!!!!
    also, *omg ponies!!1!!*

  176. Jane Anderson says:

    >>Um. This is beyond weird, People, it’s like disco dressage—with ridiculous commentary. [shaking head] >>

    I am a longtime horse enthusiast, was very fortunate to see the Spanish Riding School of Vienna when they toured North America. Dressage is not “weird” the commentary is not “ridiculous.” Dressage is like any other Olympic event (and it is). What would gymnastics be without any commentary. But as awesome as Dressage is, basically it can become boring. But look at the stands in this vid. They are packed. That is what adding music to Freestyle did. It is like the Liberty classes in Arabian horse shows. People get bored watching horses in a ring. But let those horses loose in the Liberty class and it takes your breath away.

    The most incredible sight I ever saw was watching Col. Alois Podhajsky entering the arena for his solo ride on Maestoso Mercurio. Absolutely in tune, horse and man became one. It was just breathtaking. The Spanish Riding School performed the Airs Above the Ground, but Col. Podhajsky and Mercurio gave to me that evening a memory that will last forever.

  177. schrafinator says:

    You saw Podhajsky performing in the flesh??


    That truly must have been an incredible sight.

  178. Jane Anderson says:

    Yep, I sure did did. This was on their tour after the movie “The Miracle of the White Stallions.” I saw them in Chicago back in 1964 (showing my age). Col. Podhajsky entered the arena at a perfect Piaffe. Mercurio would sometimes trot in place, advance a little always at the Piaffe, then trot in place. Then horse and rider stood majestically between the two pillars. Not even the Airs Above the Ground was better than that. Mercurio was quiet, no resistance whatsoever. Col. Podhajsky was virtually still in the saddle, no signals could be seen at all. Col. Podhajsky was also in Miracle of the White Stallions, as one of the riders for the performances. The “movie” Lipizzans were in the tour, the bay Neapolitano Anacona and Favory Kitty had lightened quite a bit. I forgot who had him on the long reins, but Favory Kitty kicked out pretty good at the trainer walking behind him, and of course drawing a reaction from everyone.

  179. WOW! just wow! that was amazing! i’ve never seen a horse perform soooo well!!!

  180. The old dressage joke was, “As fun as dressage is, I got bored so, I took up Ice fishing”.
    This Horse, Trainer, and Rider, in the Video, is as, No other. Astounding, Awesome. The Bar has been risen.
    Bradley SaintJohn

  181. Also, now, after my 3 & 5 year old girls, have seen this, they wish to teach their 20 year old Shetland pony “Dusty The Wonder Pony” to dance like this really pretty dancing horse.
    Bradley SaintJohn

  182. That is spectacular and beautiful and impressive and amazing. It brought tears to my eyes too, particularly when he hugged her.

    Amazing, really!!


  184. the most amazing horse and rider. wish i could be there. DELIGHTFUL !!!!

  185. Dusty- why don’t you put your money where your mouth is and post yourself and this upper level pony of yours?

  186. that was so COOL!

  187. I was transfixed by the beauty of this performance.

    Criticism of such grace is absurd.

  188. Posh Tater says:

    Just back from a weeks holiday and catching up with this awesome site… this video is incredible. No! The HORSE is incredible! I too had tears in my eyes by the end. Beautiful!

    Hats off to both horse and rider. That’s a remarkable bond they have and my goodness that horse was having FUN out there! That’s how dressage should be. I was transfixed – it was like watching Fred Astaire, the master of “oh I’ll just try this old step…”.

    The mare’s tail was definitely saying “ARE we having fun yet? Yes. We. Are!” I loved the hug at the end too. Wish that the footage of the rider waving had included the horses face… did anyone notice how her ears pricked up when the crowd went WILD?!

    (Note to the person who complained about the “not the original artists”: er, it’s recorded specially so that each piece segues into the next one?)

    OK, now I have to watch that all over again and send it to everyone I know… oh and work out how I can take up riding again!

  189. i didnt read all the comments, so i dont know if it was mentioned here or not.

    this is an actual competition where the dressage is done to the music, its called musical freestyle. when i was riding i always wanted to choreograph one. its also in the Olympics, infact margie goldstein one gold with her freestyle in i think atlanta, with a mix of beatles tunes.

    the rules are that the music has to change a few times, it can not have words, you have to keep moving forward (im sure there are a few others i know those are the main points)

    it brought back memories, as i never did get to compete in a dressage event, i did all those moves and more, one day ill ride again,

    the wonderful thing about horse sports is that, 1 there is no age limit, 2 its the only sport where human and animal compete together, and 3 its the only sport where men and women compete as equals (maybe 1 or 2 others they dont come to mind right now)

    kudos on a wonderful video.

  190. Everytime I watch this ,I am amazed!!! I ride this sport and the time and training involved is a real comitment. But to find a horse with the talent and williness to work with you and become a team is even harder! Simply perfection!

  191. Ugh, I agree completely with Jane. How is this a “waste of time”? I’m guessing the people who said that have never been around horses, and have no idea how long it takes to build the sort of bond it takes to perform in competitions. Equestrian sports are just as demanding as others (physically and mentally), and even more dangerous because of the large animals involved. I ride Western, but I can still appreciate the amount of effort and work it takes to put together a performance like this. Don’t mock something when you know absolutely nothing about it.

  192. Fanks for your video about Spanish Lover

  193. I’ve been riding for 55 years and thought I’d seen it all! I was ready to stand up and cheer after watching this, it brought tears to my eyes! How can anyone not appreciate this divine beauty! Thank you for sharing this!!

  194. kaitlyn says:

    OMG that is the funniest thing ever Horse likeie Lady Marmalde

  195. That was so cool! I loved it! I’ve never seem anything like it! Did you see the why he got into it? HAHA!! That made my day!